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Comment: Re:wrong problem... (Score 2) 116

by bugnuts (#47819935) Attached to: MetaFilter Founder Says Vacation Firm Forged Court Docs To Scotch Review

Libelous statements are made every day, designed to harm. Harming someone by lying is blatantly illegal. Sure it happens on teen TV shows and IRL often enough, but consider a systematic system of making false bad reviews about a company. It will harm them financially, and the perp should be held liable, and the courts should have the power to stop them.

And once found out and served an injunction, if the court order is violated they will rightfully be jailed since they clearly can't be trusted to not break the law out in public. Sundance was obviously trying to claim libel for protected speech, and not getting very far.

But an order like this basically raises the consequences for lying, once you're shown to be a liar.

At this point, Sundance Vacations could be in a heap of legal trouble if the courts or Metafilter want to go after them. There's interference with Metafilter, forgery, possibly impersonating an official, and potentially other big problems they brought on themselves. I suspect Metafilter's harm is minimal and this exposure (also protected speech) should be punishment enough.

Comment: You need both coders and designers (Score 1) 546

by bugnuts (#47819741) Attached to: Does Learning To Code Outweigh a Degree In Computer Science?

If you only have designers with degrees, nobody will be happy doing grunt work. User interfaces will suck. Artwork will suck. That isn't to say nobody can do art or user interfaces, but a self-taught person will have more drive to learn what "feels good" instead of the bare-bones proof of concept.

If you only have coders without any degreed theorists, code optimization will regress to converting bubble-sorts to shell-sorts. There's a reason theory is taught. Self-taught coders are unlikely to have ever computed the big O of an algorithm or done a recurrence relation or converted a complex math problem to a tractable computer program.

A mixture of both can be useful for actually making stuff.

Comment: Re:Vegas Movie Studio (cheap not free) (Score 1) 163

by bugnuts (#47809371) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: the State of Free Video Editing Tools?

I have the full version of Vegas, and for shorts I don't use more tracks than the cheap version allows. IIRC, that's the main limitation, so it's a great deal. The thing I like most about it is the speed of rendering.

You might want a compositing engine to go with it, though. That's something I miss, and sony vegas isn't good at it. Even a simple greenscreen is difficult with bugs and threshold issues.

Comment: Re: Flywheel spin and political spin (Score 1) 245

by bugnuts (#47804473) Attached to: Power Grids: The Huge Battery Market You Never Knew Existed

Sorry, localizing the storage vs storage far away, like tfa is talking about, is far more efficient. There's certainly loss on storage and retrieval.

However, I've seen several local substation proposals for storing energy using banks of flywheels, and even more for rail.

Comment: Re: Yes, we know that. (Score 1) 245

by bugnuts (#47802989) Attached to: Power Grids: The Huge Battery Market You Never Knew Existed

If you and all your neighbors were producing a surplus, the substations would need to be backfeedable. Most aren't, and would either need to be upgraded, or local storage would be needed.

Inverters force energy into the grid by raising voltage. In the situation where everyone is producing and nobody consuming, the lines will become overvoltaged and the solar collectors would be shut down by the inverters. Near 0% efficiency in the primary solar hours isn't a good thing.

That's the degenerate case. It won't happen because we're smart enough to see the issues. This is exactly why we need storage and backfeedable substations. We could have 100% wind and solar adoption without issue if the storage and distribution issues are solved.

Comment: Flywheel spin and political spin (Score 1, Interesting) 245

by bugnuts (#47802225) Attached to: Power Grids: The Huge Battery Market You Never Knew Existed

I've been posting about this, and the spin some politicians are pushing is reprehensible. Recently, Arizona allowed fees to charge rooftop-based solar energy producers for the privilege of selling or donating electrons to others for use. A few incredible or insane politicians are trying to spin it as if solar adopters are leeches despite the fact that they already pay for interconnect fees and all the excess energy they use.

The alternative, of course, is to go completely off the grid using your own batteries, which will end up costing the power companies (and the politicians in their pockets) even more.

But it's not all without a shred of truth. There are definitely some costs associated with high adoption rates of solar, and the breakdown is pretty easy to explain:

  • Substations convert and distribute 220 to your neighborhood, from high tension wires from the power plants.
  • Substations convert one direction only -- from the high-voltage to the line voltage.
  • High usage is generally in the warm daytime, through early evening.
  • Solar covers most of the high usage times. Some companies charge more for energy use during these times.

This works great for the power companies when a few people on one substation have some solar power generators, because they feed it back into the grid for use by those without solar. As a result, the power company can charge the full amount for the electrons used (often at higher prices), but they don't have to transfer it long distances which inevitably carries loss due to capacitance and resistance. And they get all of this without investing in the cost of increased production at the power plants.

This also works great for the solar generators, because they reduce their use during the most expensive times, and usually push themselves into a lower usage tier due to overall reduced usage. A household that uses 500kWh might only draw 100kWh net from the grid over a month, and the first 100 are usually very cheap. Some places pay for excess electrons put onto the grid, others do not.

But here's the limitation: if all your neighbors have solar, it will exceed consumption during times of bright sunlight. In other words, the substation will send out no energy (nobody needs it), and in fact cannot backfeed it to other substations. This can cause a real issue when there's a surplus. Line voltage may even go up from 110 to around 130. This is when they need energy storage. Batteries are one method, but flywheels can work well, too. They could spin up a flywheel to consume the excess energy, then release it later as-needed (e.g. a dark cloud). In fact, they can spin up a flywheel at nighttime, too, when they have excess production, to smooth out daytime use. It's not just for independent generating stations, but this infrastructure will smooth out their plants for normal use, too.

Some unscrupulous legislators are trying to saddle solar generators with the cost of those who choose not to use solar. They claim exactly the opposite, that the solar producers are driving up costs. Really, they're making a needed upgrade more obvious and in any case, there is literally no way they are "driving up costs" by reducing their own usage. That fails the basic 5th grader test.

Localizing the storage is far more efficient than sending it hundreds of miles, plus it future proofs the obvious issues of people inevitably moving away from coal and natural gas generators. These local storage solutions or backfeeding substations should be pushed by all, even those without solar generation.

Comment: Re: But is it reaslistic? (Score 1) 369

Plague is easily treated today. It's just a bacterium, and it doesn't even spread from person to person without blood exchange. That's like one of the dumbest things I've heard, only interesting because plague once killed many people.

I'd be far more worried about smallpox, an easily created virus that has few people immunized these days.

Comment: Prefacing propaganda with propaganda is bad (Score 1) 300

by bugnuts (#47749285) Attached to: Put A Red Cross PSA In Front Of the ISIS Beheading Video

It makes a mockery of the idea of journalistic integrity. The beheading video is billed as an ISIS propaganda piece, so does anyone actually think that adding more propaganda would legitimize it? Methinks not.

There is simply no good from adding corporate enforced! bias, for funding or whatever. The objectionable parts are not the news, nor a beheading. The objectionable part is the context, which includes things like trolls or even auto-starting videos on facebook. I've dropped people for less, for sharing auto-starting gore videos.

Consumers should have a choice to watch or not, Editors should use discretion, Newscasters should add context and background for proper interpretation.

But for all that is holy and truthful, forcing propaganda into news just to be broadcast is the worst idea I've ever heard.

Comment: Re: What's the point? (Score 2) 511

by bugnuts (#47743225) Attached to: If Java Wasn't Cool 10 Years Ago, What About Now?

A counterexample would be skill levels (3,1,3,3,7) with a median of 3 and mean above 3. In neither of those definitions are half below average, being 1 or 2, and 4.

Simple math would say at least half would be less than or equal to the median.

Of course, simple math rarely works here to quantify except at the extremes. People have different abilities in different areas, and gray matter is plastic. It changes, and even that rate of change matters.

"No problem is so formidable that you can't walk away from it." -- C. Schulz